Whilst not a new concept, in the past year wellbeing has become more relevant than ever, with many people forced to work at home and isolate from the usual support structures in place. For many companies, it’s prompted a review of what mental health support is in place for their teams – aside from conventional benefits. Kellie Plummer, our Head of HR, explains why wellbeing is so important at The Fry Group and what we have introduced to support our people.
To us, wellbeing encompasses a state of ease with who you are, what you’re here to do, how you feel about yourself and your connection to those you work with. We also appreciate that work is a significant contributor to many people’s overall feelings of self-worth and happiness; in fact, feeling unfulfilled is one of the key reasons I returned to work after three years of maternity leave following the birth of my twins. So, it’s no great surprise that feeling accomplished and purposeful at work – ultimately enjoying what you do and the environment you work in – contributes to overall wellbeing.
Ignoring wellbeing can have significant effects on us as individuals and also as team players. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that our mental state contributes to our physical state and overall performance. There are also a range of physiological changes that occur when we experience anxiety, which in turn can detrimentally impact people’s performance and also lead to physical illness over the long-term. In the workplace, anxiety can occur for many reasons but arguably the main one is fear; of change, of losing your job or of criticism. And although pressure in moderation can help drive performance, we’re all different and external factors must be taken into account. Certainly, the additional stresses caused by the Coronavirus pandemic have meant there might be little headspace left to cope with even the most normal work and day-to-day pressures.
Steps towards wellbeing
There are a vast range of practical steps which can be used to promote wellbeing at work. At The Fry Group we recently invested in training for around 20% of our workforce to become Mental Health First Aiders. This peer support group – who all volunteered to take part – have been guided in how to spot the first signs of mental ill health and provide initial support to colleagues who need assistance, in much the same way as physical first aiders respond to injury or illness. Their mission is to help promote a workplace culture where we are free to discuss wellbeing issues openly and feel supported by our colleagues when we do.
We also provide all our employees with access to an Employee Assistance Programme which offers 24/7 support across a wide range of issues including financial concerns, legal advice, emotional support and counselling services.
In addition, our leadership team have taken time to hear from MIND, the mental health charity, to ensure they understand more about mental wellbeing. Being aware and supportive is the first step towards creating a supportive workplace culture. We’ve also re-evaluated the future post-Covid and begun our journey towards agile working, which aims to provide people with increased flexibility over their work/life balance.
As a global employer, with a long history, we appreciate that our business is built on the people who work here. We’re committed to creating a culture that is supportive of each and every member of the team whilst they work here. This in turn ensures that we all perform to the best of our ability, providing a positive environment for our team, our clients and the world around us.
If you are looking for a career with a leading international tax and financial planning company then we are keen to hear from you. If you think you can add something special to our team and are the kind of person we should build a role around, please get in touch.